RVC, Goodwill Industries and Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance to pilot adult education program

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ROCKFORD, Sept. 25 — Rock Valley College, Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance announced today that they will collaborate to pilot a new holistic model of Adult Education Services in the community. This partnership will collectively work to decrease the number of local residents lacking a high school diploma or equivalency (GED) using existing community resources and well-established best practices.

The pilot program provides education, case management, and career guidance for individuals enrolled. Students will receive High School Equivalency (GED) or Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes provided by Rock Valley College staff, as well as wrap around case management provided by Goodwill staff. When students are educationally ready, their case manager will connect them with The Workforce Connection staff to begin working toward certificates or credentials and employment. Goodwill’s case managers will stay with students throughout job placement and successful employment.

Classes will be held at RVC’s downtown location at 303 North Main Street and at the RHA Blackhawk Courts location. Both programs will begin on October 19, 2015.

“We are so excited to begin this new partnership with Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois and the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance,” says Amanda Smith, RVC’s Dean of Transitional Opportunities and Education. “There are so many adults in our community who are ready to improve their lives and the lives of their families, and it all starts with completing their high school equivalency. A collective approach to providing services to our students is going to have a tremendous impact.”

This partnership is the result of a community wide effort to examine the state of education and improve outcomes for those who have not received their high school equivalency. While other solutions continue to be researched, leaders feel that we must implement solutions in the interim to work toward solving the adult education crisis in our region.

There are currently over 45,000 adults in the RVC district who have not earned a high school diploma and over 80,000 who are in need of Adult Education. In our region, only 14% of jobs are available to adults who have less than a high school diploma.

“Our research and experiences at Goodwill show that the case management piece of the process is absolutely critical for helping each individual be successful in their continuum of education to full employment”, stated Sam Schmitz, President of Goodwill Industries of Northern Illinois.

“We believe education is the key to providing individuals with the skills they need to be successful and helping employers connect with a skilled workforce,” said Darcy Bucholz, Executive Director of the Northern Illinois Workforce Alliance. “The case management and support services included in this holistic approach are essential to helping individuals reach their goals.”

Each year, RVC Adult Education serves more than 1,700 adults who are seeking to improve their basic skills, whether that means earning a high school equivalency (GED) or improving their English language skills. Last year, 102 adults enrolled in RVC’s program obtained their high school equivalency (GED). Additionally, 74% of adults who exited the program gained employment and 75% retained employment. Classes are offered at 19 locations throughout the region. For more information about Rock Valley College Adult Education program, please contact Amanda Smith at 815.921.2009 or A.Smith@rockvalleycollege.edu.

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